In that moment, the way he was posed in front of her told her there was no going back.
His eyes popping out of his head, they reminded her of ones she’d seen on frogs they were about to dissect in elementary school. Sticking out of his mouth was a swollen tongue; the hue of his skin had turned a sickly green. A tailor made suit clung stiffly and lifelessly to his body; all its former glory now nothing but a vague memory.
Why had he called her a whore? It wasn’t so much the word, but its associations which brought out her inner devil. Before leaving, she had promised herself that this land would mean a fresh start. Sighing, she turned, exited the booth and closed its door behind her. “I couldn’t help it, it was her fault,” she told herself while entering the entrance hall on Værnes airport.
Outside, the rain had settled in. She firmly entered the first and best taxi she could find.
«Where’re you going?»
«Brothel,» she answered.
Unsettled by the welcome, she still decided this country had potential.
«Hammer, you idiot, wake up, a guy was murdered in a toilet booth!»
«Hm, zzz.. what?»
Looking down on his most unreliable employee was Editor in Chief Karlsen.
«On Værnes, to be precise. I guess I ought to let you sleep on, but there aren’t anyone around else around right now.»
«Relax, boss, Hansen and I will take care of this.»
«That’s what I was afraid you’d say. Just don’t drink any more beer!»
«I won’t, he mumbled, grabbing his tweed coat from his chair, haplessly putting the coat on over his yellow suit»
«Hansen, let’s go, We’re going to Værnes!»
The young journalist Frank Hansen looked up from his monitor, throwing a sceptic look at the tall figure. Who was it Felicia in Culture had said he looked like? Jeff Bridges! Even with a fedora and a cigarette constantly hanging out of his mouth there was no mistaking the comparison. Looks wise they couldn’t have been more different: Frank Hansen was of medium build with slightly too much fat around his abdomen. He had short, brown hair and blue eyes sitting closely together that appeared to be blinking a lot.
«Fine, but I don’t drink at work, just so you know!»
«That’s only cos you’re still new to the game, Hansen!»
«Relax, Hammer, I know what happened. Everyone knows, it made the national headlines, damnit.»
Hammer snorted, and didn’t say anything else until they’d entered one of Aftenbladet’s cars.
«Listen, you little piece of shit, that’s not why I drink, just so we’re clear about that! It’s been two years, I’m past that by now.»
«Okay. If it’d been me I’d probably taken out early retirement and gone to the Bahamas – I think you’ve handled the situation well. But I still don’t drink at work!»
Hammer leaned into his seat and pulled his fedora down over his forehehad as they sped towards Værnes.